Contrast-matching analysis of grating induction and suprathreshold contrast perception

Mark E. McCourt, Barbara Blakeslee

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30 Scopus citations


The effect that induced gratings [Vision Res. 22, 119 (1982)] exert on the perceived contrast of standard gratings situated within a 0.5° test field was assessed for two observers by a contrast-matching procedure. Five levels of inducing-grating contrast, Ci, ranged from 0.0 to 0.75. Functions relating matching contrast, Cm, to standard-grating contrast, Cs, were obtained at four levels of inducing-grating contrast across a range of standard contrasts, -0.90 < Cs:£ +0.90, where the sign denotes the spatial phase of the standard relative to the inducing grating. The matching functions possessed three distinct limbs separated by two inflection points; the limb between the inflection points represents a region of high contrast gain. Another measure, canceling contrast, was obtained at the four levels of inducing contrast by variation of Cs until the test field appeared spatially homogeneous. Induction magnitude measured in terms of canceling contrast, Cc, grew approximately linearly with C/, such that Cc = 0.819 (C/). Induction magnitude determined from matching-contrast data obtained for homogeneous test fields (i.e. Cm for Cs = 0.0) grew as a decelerating function of inducing-grating contrast, such that Cm = 0.308(C/) ®/([C/] ® + 0.096), effectively asymptoting at a contrast of approximately 0.275 for Cl & 0.50. When the difference between the absolute values of matching and standard contrast, \Cm\ - Cs, is plotted against the ratio of standard to inducing-grating contrast, Cs/Ci, the resulting functions are generally biphasic, revealing regions of both contrast overmatching (i.e., \Cm\ > Cs) and contrast undermatching, \Cm\ < lCs. A four-parameter model is presented that accounts for many features of the raw matching functions and that is mathematically similar to Semmelroth’s account of the crispening effect in brightness matching [J. Opt. Soc. Am. 60, 1685 (1970)]. The model describes matching contrast. Cm, as the weighted sum of two nonlinear contrast-response functions whose inputs are Cs and Cs - Ci. The results are discussed relative to the crispening effect (the effect of contrast adaptation on perceived contrast) and to similarities and differences in luminance and contrast-domain visual processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-24
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Optical Society of America A: Optics and Image Science, and Vision
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Brightness contrast
  • Brightness matching
  • Contrast matching
  • Contrast response
  • Contrast suppression
  • Crispening effect
  • Grating induction
  • Lateral inhibition
  • Suprathreshold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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